Friday, June 10, 2011

Peeling back the layers

These days everyone has a story to tell, and every story told is a miracle.  She sits quietly next to her husband in my office and shakes her head back and forth as he describes for me how they survived the tornado.  He tells me how they clung to each other in the basement of the home they had purchased a week prior.  The little house twisted and ripped apart above them taking with it all their belongings, all their memories barely out of boxes, their clothes, their truck…everything gone. When it finally passed they had to dig themselves out and walk.  This is when she finally spoke, her eyes a little watery.  “We walked and walked and walked,” her voice quivered.  “Our daughter and our people thought we were dead because when we finally found help they drove us to a shelter in Neosho and we had no way of reaching anyone.”

This little couple is near and dear to my heart, both in their 70’s.  They moved to Joplin from a small town in Kansas to be closer to St. Johns Hospital.  “Ronda, we're going back to Kansas,” they told me.  “The house, the hospital, it’s all gone; so we’re going home.”

The insurance company is working at getting them a check, they are going to have to work to adjust to this new life they’ve been handed.  “We’re famous back home Ronda!”  Her cheeks flushed a little when she told me this, “but it gets kind of exhausting.”

“You know the hard part is the crying,” he said.  I listened closely and was surprised to hear him say this, but a little more surprised to see tears start to well up in him.  “I just get so emotional.”  He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed his eyes.  “So many people have been so good to us,” she said while he composed himself.  “{He} got some real nice jeans given to him; no one seems to be my size though.  So many people from our town came to the hotel to see us, no one wanted to leave, and we were so tired.  But they all just stayed around,” she continued.  “Our daughter tried to tell them we were tired. They must have been there past eleven.”  He nodded his head in agreement.  “We really liked that house,” He said with a sigh while his eyes scanned my floor as if looking for something lost.

{Ohhhhh!!! Broke my heart!}

They told me how the previous owner (“a little old man,” they called him) felt terrible about what happened and felt like it was his fault somehow.  They told me how they told him, “It wasn’t your fault!  Your basement saved our lives!”  They said that seemed to make him feel a little better.  Pray for them, they have so much ahead of them, and though they survived I could visually see a change in them from the couple I had known just a few weeks prior.  Who wouldn’t be different after something like that?  They lived through a nightmare.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. Psalm 46:1-3,7

Since they are customers I can’t say their names, but I can tell you they are a joy, and you would love them.

If you would like to send any support to my little couple from the story above I would be happy to send it their way for you.  They are on a fixed income and they barely had two nickels to rub together when I helped them use his VA-entitlement to purchase the new house.  Don’t know how they are going to make out on insurance but I am praying they will be well taken care of.

A dear friend of mine had her last day at the bank today so we threw a party.  Mexican food was on the menu and everyone was supposed to bring a little somethin’ somethin’.  So I brought my Mexican Torte.  I think I have mentioned this in a blog before, funny how quickly I forget!  This is a dish my family calls “Ronda’s Layers of Goodness.”  It is easy, it is yummy, it is quick, and it is cheap.  A big thank you to my friend Alicia for being a vegetarian.  I had to learn to make yummy vegetarian food for them when they would come for a visit; this was one of those dishes.  Praise the Lord for good friends and yummy food!

Mexican Torte AKA Ronda’s Layers of Goodness

6 flour tortillas
1 can of refried beans or pinto beans
1 can black beans and/or 1 can dark kidney beans (I also like to chop up some cilantro and put it in there….ooohhhhh yummers!)
½ cup salsa
1 ½ cups cheese
½ packet taco seasoning
Garnishes Optional:  sour cream, salsa, hummus, guacamole, etc…

Preheat oven to 390-400 degrees.

Mix black beans, kidney beans, salsa, and taco seasoning in a small bowl.

Place your first tortilla in a shallow baking dish or on a cookie sheet lined with foil.

Spread about ¼ cup refried beans on tortilla.  Sprinkle with1/8 cup cheese.  Top with your next tortilla.  Spread about ¼ cup black bean mixture and top with 1/8 cup cheese.  Repeat this until all 6 tortillas are used.  You can keep going if you want…I have used up to 8 tortillas and as few as 3, so do whatcha want.

I then take half of a tortilla if I have any left and I use a pizza cutter to cut out a few designs.  I sprinkle on some cheese, set up my design on the top of the torte and put it in the oven to bake.  Check it after 20 minutes.  Cheese should be melted through and edges slightly browned.
This is a must make.  It is probably one of the best things ever.  It does come with a warning…do not eat this if you are going to be in a confined space around others for any extended period of time.  Not advisable before air travel or attending church.   You will be all gassed up with no where to go.  You can thank me later.

Let me say thank you to all of you who called, emailed me, or message me about yesterdays blog, there were several of you and it REALLY blessed me.  You know who you are.



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